The Singapore-based fashion designer Grace Ciao first started using flower petals in her illustrations when a boy gave her a rose; sad to see the gift wither and die, she incorporated it into a sketch of of a cocktail dress. Soon, the 22-year-old designer began using flowers in all of her creations, from party dresses to bridal gowns. From a single rose stem, she can create up to six separate designs.
The multidimensionality of the petals lends Ciao’s designs a unique and vibrant range; shadow and curve work together to flatter and accentuate the human body. The artist prefers to use flowers that contain within them a multitude of shades and tones; from their natural coloration, she can divine innovative prints and patterns. The garment and the floral organism dictate one another’s movements and structure; a falling yellow petal forms a ruffled embellishment or a bold one-shoulder sleeve, and the white ends of a tulip are layered exquisitely.
Ciao has a unique talent for making all colors, textures, and shapes look appealing and extravagant; an inexpensive carnation and a pricey orchid create equally luxurious garments. One can only imagine that as the petals wilt and eventually die, the garments go through a magical metamorphosis, transforming from fire-engine red to blood red and ultimately to a deep burgundy. As we move into summer, Ciao’s work is a delightful tribute to the ever-changing seasons and to the cycle of life and death. We cannot wait to see what she has in store as new flowers come into bloom. (via Demilked and Buzzfeed)
For his series “Face Cartography,” the photographer Daniel Boschung creates an unnerving portrait of the human face, bringing it into a hyperrealistic focus that exceeds even the powers of the naked eye. Each high resolution likeness is composed of approximately 600 individual shots, each of which boasts the astounding size of 900 million pixels. The artist programs an ABB industrial robot to scan the entirety of his subjects’ faces, forcing them to sit still for up to 30 minutes per session.
Boschung’s photographs are visually jarring in part because they allow us to scrutinize the features of others in ways that are not possible in daily life. We rarely get close enough to view another’s pores and nose hairs; even if we did, our eyes would focus on a single spot, and the rest would fade into our peripheral vision. “Face Cartography” presents its subjects’ flesh with a depth of field beyond that of human vision, and as we move our eyes across the page, we need not fear that they will move, blur or obstruct our view. In this way, the portraits are uncomfortably intimate and unsettlingly vivid.
The artist explains that in his photographs “emotions are completely missing;” because his subjects must hold the same position for a longer period of time, fleeting emotive expressions do not register on the composite image. In this way, the work might be read as a powerful reflection on gestalt visual psychology, which proposes that the sum of the parts of an image do not necessarily reflect the whole. The up-close high-resolution parts that compose the final image are certainly transfixing, but when added together, do they accurately reflect the person photographed? What do you think? (via Design Boom)
The Singapore-based artist Ivan Hoo creates astounding photorealistic drawings on simple wooden boards; his expert technique cleverly mimics three-dimensionality, tricking the viewer into mistaking pencil-drawn lines and pastel shading with real-life objects. The content of Hoo’s still lifes is often a domestic accident: a spilled wine glass, a broken vase, a cracked egg. The artistic marriage of the seemingly mundane content with the masterly craftsmanship results in an uncanny examination of the everyday, finding radiance and beauty within the routine.
In a household, Hoo’s vivid scenes might inspire slight anxiety or irritation; in one image, a Coke can topples over, drenching the wooden board, which takes the place of a fine wood table. But because these moments of spillage are fictional, and because they require effort in the place of negligence, they elicit marveling admiration. Because these “accidents” require a paradoxical foresight and meticulous attention to detail,, the annoyance of mess is transformed into a celebration of line and color.
Throughout Hoo’s body of work is a consistent element of surprise and delight. A cat pokes his head through an illustrated hole in the wood, transforming the simple plank into a fence, and a seemingly blank wood canvas is shown to be covered in tiny, precisely-rendered water droplets. In photographs of the work, the headphones he wears persistently fall onto his canvas, initially integrating effortlessly into the photorealistic image, blurring the lines between accident and intention, between artist and art piece. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor)
Believe it or not, the tiniest comic strip in history has recently been drawn onto a single stand of human hair. The comic, titled “Juana Knits the Planet,” was initially mapped by the artist Claudia Puhlfürst; later, it was burned into a plucked stand with an ion beam, which is in essence a delicate and thin version of a laser beam. The narrative follows a girl (Juana) through twelve twenty-five micrometer frames, and the artwork is a promotion for a Do-It-Yourself conference in Hamburg, Germany called the Exceptional Hardware Software Meeting.
Purfürst’s illustration is a touching wordless story about about a lonesome little girl who seems to exist within a vacuum of a blank comic book frame; that is, until a ball of yarn rolls to her feet. From the thread, she creates a paintbrush, painting trees and music into existence. Ultimately, Juana writes code and builds herself her very first friend: an adorable robot. This parable of human growth and ingenuity is made all the more delightful for being engraved onto a strand of hair; the story of technological expansion returns, ultimately, to the human head, the site of its conception.
In this video, we can discover the astounding scale of the little comic. Strands of human hair are composed of hard proteins; the outer layer, or the cuticle, contains scales that form curves and ridges, and yet the frames of “Juana Knits the Planet” are perfectly straight and meticulously rendered. It’s pretty mind-blowing; take a look. (via HuffPost and Lost at E Minor)
With the help of a powerful 3D microscope, the Hawaii-based photographer Gary Greenberg shoots stunning macro images of grains of sand, dissecting the seemingly uniform material into otherworldly crystals. The microscope, which the artist himself invented after earning a Ph.D. in biomedical research, magnifies the microscopic to 300 times their original size; the machine also affords the resultant images an astounding depth of field, capturing the most subtle curves and structures of the minuscule grains of sand.
Greenberg derives pleasure from the unpredictability of his process; each beach has a diverse history and therefore produces unique sand. In Maui alone, the grain shapes range from cylinders to spirals; they can be vividly colored or more muted. In the same handful of sand, we might find a tiny shell beside a microscopic mineral section that resembles an eaten corn cob.
Sand, as a substance, often operates allegorically in art, representing the impermanence of man within the shifting tides. Greenberg’s images work powerfully against that notion; here, human innovation freezes time, if only for a moment, fixing even the most minuscule objects in place. These grains of sand, many of which are likely well over thousands of years old, are crystallized for our visual pleasure; in Greenberg’s glimmering rocks, we can find traces of organic matter, now fossilized. Torn into many pieces by the tide and surf, shells, volcanic remains, and coral all intermingle on the beach shore. In Okinawa, Japan, sand is formed in part by the skeletons of single-celled creatures, visible here like strange starfish. (via HuffPost, Lost at E Minor, and Bored Panda)
In his first eleven years of life, the Serbian artist Dušan Krtolica has already exhibited his drawings at two nation-wide solo shows. He began his drawing career at two-years-old, displaying an astounding visual ability; since then, the prodigy has focussed his efforts on depicting wildlife and natural worlds, both existing and extinct. As with the notebooks of Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, Krtolica’s pages are filled to their edges with rich anatomical and zoological studies. Though passionate about drawing, the fifth-grader hopes someday to pursue his passion for animals by becoming a zoologist.
Krtolica’s drawings magically marry a childlike sense of wonder with a more seasoned visual precision; though startlingly detailed and studiously seen, his work maintains a frenetic and unabashed curiosity. His ocean floors and vast jungles are seemingly blessed with creatures of different periods, as if more mature and evolved animals could intermingle with primordial beasts. The bodies of animals overlap in the midst of a wonderful chaos, and an armed knight is envisioned with the same degree of specificity as a tiny beetle.
Though powerfully scientific and unfalteringly observant, Krtolica’s images contain within their borders an ineffable quality of life and vitality, as seen through the rubbing of hybrid wings, the weaving of a spider web. The artist possesses both the awe-filled eye of a child and the technical ability to render his imaginings on paper, and that is a truly magical combination indeed. Take a look. (via Demilked)
The Taiwanese photographer Yung Cheng Lin presents the female body in unusual, erotic and sometimes absurd ways; his surreal, staged images capture a raw sensuality that oscillates between the fantastic and the grotesque. Here, women are seen initially as objects of desire, but they contort their bodies in ways that defy objectification and veer into abstraction.
Lin’s images, wrought with sexual tension, are at times uncomfortable to look at; a girl grips a box of milk, and its liquid ejaculates on and into her ear. Another woman holds a ripened, banana, which we might assume to be symbolic of the phallus, between her thighs; a finger penetrates and abstracted mound of flesh. A replica of the Mona Lisa sits between a woman’s legs, the part of hair mimicking a vulvar shape. The viewer, often seeing these female subjects from above, feel like strange voyeurs, peering into intimate rituals undetected.
Amidst Lin’s exploration of sexuality is a growing sense of anxiety that may be read perhaps a fear of female sexual power. A rose intimately penetrates a woman’s throat, and her head falls back and out of the frame as if in pleasure. But this symbolic intercourse is foreboding, dangerous: the flower is dead, wilted, and blood trickles down the model’s neck. Dead bugs infest the sets, sitting atop bananas and dangling from blood-red threads, signifying impending decay. Like drone bees who flock to mate with their queen only to die after the moment of fertilization, the insects fall at the feet of women. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor and White Zine)
The incredible sand sculptures of Carl Jara more closely resemble ancient carved marble or surrealist daydreams than they do ordinary sand castles. His giant creations can reach an astounding height of fifteen feet, delightfully dwarfing beach goers and casting shadows across the sand. Jara has won several local, national, and international competitions with his powerful work.
Jara’s sculptural content seems to take a cue from his medium; each piece is devastatingly impermanent, fragile and vulnerable in the face of waves and rain. The carefully-constructed form of the sculptures express a similar evanescent quality, appearing as if they might vanish at any moment. The human body is split in two, and the flesh magically loses its materiality, intermingling with draped fabric. Here, bisecting the nude form is as simple unzipping a zipper that lines the torso; in this surreal realm, it appears as though we may shed our physical, mortal bodies like clothing.
And yet, somehow these images suggest a spiritual permanence of the creative self. Though the human figure is shown as transient, and although the artwork will surely vanish with the tides, Jara’s body of work hints at an invisible and unknown infinity. A man opens himself, revealing countless tiny selves arranged like Russian dolls. A piece titled Infinity presents a man, a philosopher maybe, holding unending manifestations of his own thought within a large, curved palm. Like grains of sand, we humans will one day be washed away, but in some surreal universe, our identities will be repeated, remembered time and again. (via Colossal)